Catch of the Day: 1963 Danelectro Pro 1

1963 Danelectro Pro 1

Guitars are a bit like movies. Sometimes you want to watch Casablanca or The Godfather and other times nothing but Plan 9 From Outer Space will do. Today’s Catch, a 1963 Danelectro Pro 1, is definitely a Plan 9 kinda guitar. In an earlier Catch of the Day I wrote about how Danelectro made some very nice guitars out of surprisingly cheap materials like Masonite, staples and discarded lipstick tubes. The Pro 1 is made from those same modest materials but it’s not really one of Danelectro’s best efforts. But for me, it does have a certain clunky charm. It only has 13 frets clear of the body and a short, 21-inch scale length. Speaking of the body, it has one of the boxiest shapes I have ever seen on a guitar. (The boxiest one ever, of course, is Bo Diddley’s guitar which is an actual rectangle.)

The Pro 1 was not well received in its day and it was discontinued after only a couple of years, making it a fairly rare bird. The Pro 1 is not an instrument I’d chose as my first, second or even third guitar, but I wouldn’t mind adding one to the ol’ guitar pile. The short scale makes a lot of interesting chord fingerings possible, and it has an intriguing, hollow, springy, almost reverb-ish tone. The Pro 1 tends to feedback in unpredictable ways, which can be a lot of fun in the right circumstances. This guitar is not really capable of subtlety or nuance but there are times when I just want to make dumb, loud noise. And for those times, the Danelectro Pro 1 is a perfect choice. This particular example is in great shape and it comes with its original soft shell case. If you’d like to add this guitar to your collection, it’s priced at $1000 at Gruhn Guitars.

Click here for the original listing.